We get this question all the time: When can I plant? Answer: Year round!
Question: No really, when can I plant?
Answer: Really fall, winter, spring and summer!
Planting here in south Louisiana is a year round adventure. Fall is the best time, followed by winter and spring with summer being the least favored time, but still a time to plant. So let's take a look at what you can do during the challenging summer months to plant and be successful!
Step One – Digging:
The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball of the plant. Dig only as deep as the root ball goes.
Step Two – Mixing:
Mix the ‘native’ soil that came out of the hole with a good mix of organically rich material. Potting or planting soils mixed with soil conditioner, compost, or/and manure will give the plant a good start. You want a 1/3 to 1/3 to 1/3 ratio of native soil, potting/planting soil and manure or compost. There are some advanced potting soils that have all this in one bag!
Step Three – Planting:
Use the mixture above to backfill the hole. The top of the root ball should be at soil level or slightly above. With some of the more sensitive plants, have the top raised a couple of inches about the soil level. Mound the soil up around the plant, but do not bury the plant.
Step Four – Mulching:
Use a mulch. I am not picky about the type of mulch used, and neither are the plants. Mulches retain water, prevent runoff, insulate the roots from temperature extremes, and eventually they decompose and add to the organic matter in the soil. When applying mulch, you need to have it 2-4 inches deep over the root ball, but not touching the crown or trunk of plant.
Step Five – Watering:
Often the most confusing and confounding step. Start the plant off with a thorough soaking… If you are not sure you have watered enough… Give it some more. Dig down next to the root ball and see if the soil is saturated. I have even heard of people dunking the root ball in a bucket of water before they plant. After the initial planting, give it some time to dry out but stay damp, but not to the point of stressing the plant out. You want to be able to soak it good every time you water. Deep soakings less often will allow the plants roots to reach deep into the ground. Shallow watering more often will promote shallow roots which can lead to an unhealthy plant.
Step Six – Fertilizing:
Root Stimulator is a liquid concentrate that is added to water to stimulate the growth of new root hairs. Do this weekly for the first few weeks the plants are in the ground. I recommend only this for a fertilizer during the plants first season. Focus the plants growth on the root system. A healthy root system will pay off next growing season with lots of lush growth all season long.
Let’s be honest, most people will buy a plant and just throw it in the ground with great success. But we are not most people! And it is 90 plus degrees EVERYDAY for three to four months out of the year. So follow these steps every time for everything you plant in the ground and enjoy the success of every green thumb gardener!